Citizen Journalism

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Time to end the class war on education

In Education, Noely Neate on April 1, 2013 at 12:05 PM

By Noely Neate
Mach 31st, 2013

Yesterday on Sky News Australian Agenda @vanOnselenP raised the question of tertiary education. What should have been a good segment discussing policy for a change ended up with Craig Emerson getting cranky while defending the right of kids less privileged than others to attend Uni as the so-called team of experts sat there decrying the ‘class-warfare’ Labor was promoting via Mr Emerson.  It was a little bizarre…

I will state upfront that I actually enjoy Peter van Onselen’s analysis on Sky. I don’t often agree with him and feel he brings too much of the elitist academic to his view, but he he backs up what he says, ‘owns’ what he says and doesn’t flip flop around repeating mantras. It was a good question that he raised with Mr Emerson (who is now responsible for that portfolio) with regard to University numbers being up but the standard of student bering down. With my daughter going to University last year, even as a mum I could see that, though that does not mean they should not be given the chance, which is what Mr Emerson was trying to say.

The so-called conversation that followed really got up my nose.  I wonder the journo’s around the table even had kids, and if they did, if they went to an average State School?  The standard of the kids getting into Uni now and the increased numbers were due to more lower socio economic kids getting in means that yes, there is a lower standard than the days the ‘good old boys’ at the table were talking about.  It will improve, but the schools themselves need to improve first – and that’s a hell of a lot more complicated than tossing out the old ‘Class-Warfare’ mantra.

Piers, Troy and Paul solemnly agreed that the class war on university education was well and truly over.  Well boys, it is NOT.  Kids may be able to get into university from a lower socio-economic background now, but they are still nowhere near educated to be prepared for that university education!

The fact is the average standard in State Schools is not all that good. Some are very good, but in general they are lagging behind.  The Libs love to chant about ‘choice’ in education, but the fact is, most people do not have a ‘choice’ – they get the local State School only.

I can only speak for my area, northern Sunshine Coast in Queensland. The number of kids staying to senior has increased massively in recent years. Part of this is the sheer number of kids moving to south east Queensland and the other part is the ‘Earning or Learning’ that came in during the Bligh Government. So you have a hell of a lot of kids in school, yet the funding by State Governments has fallen.

Only a few days ago I was talking to a journalist in Wide Bay who tweeted:

@yathinkn spoke to a Principal today who’s losing 100 collective years of experience on Thursday, when 4 mature teachers take redundancies

— Caitlin Holding (@CaitlinHolding) March 25, 2013

@yathinkn can replace permanent mature teachers on 80k with new contract teachers on 50k, but can’t replace experience.

— Caitlin Holding (@CaitlinHolding) March 25, 2013

The hits just keep coming for the State School system.

The above is happening everywhere all over this state and is getting worse.  That is not good for the kids, yet they are in a system where you have to either get  a job or stay at school.  My area has massive youth unemployment, so basically kids have to stay at school.  They have the option of doing Certificates through TAFE whilst doing senior or going the OP route to university.

Now TAFEs are closing down, courses being cut back and TAFE teachers being made redundant. We recently lost the trainer for our trainee in our business,  who was a bloody good, very experienced IT Teacher. Three months later we’re still waiting for contact from TAFE – UGH!  So not only is TAFE not helping the kids now, they are stuffing around small businesses like ours, giving us no incentive to take a trainee on. Read the rest of this entry »

An insider tells how Vic TAFE got rolled and the damage it’s done

In Education, Geraldine Toner on January 17, 2013 at 6:40 AM

By Geraldine Toner
17th January 2013

Geraldine Toner

Geraldine Toner

MARGO: @Fluffula tweeted that if she had a blog she’d write the truth about TAFE policy, so TurnLeft and AFHP offered her a spot.I feel that citizen journalists should, like other journalists, put their name to their words, and she has had the courage to do so.

So here is the debut citizen journalist piece by Geraldine Toner. She worked in the Victorian Public Service from 1992 to 2011 as an IT Project manager, mainly in labour market & training programs to help the disadvantaged into employment. From 2004 she worked in Government Funded Training Programs that managed the TAFEs and Private Registered Training Organisations and then  managed the development and implementation of the original application used to introduce the contestability model, then called ‘Skills Reform’. In 2010 she worked at Swinburne University in a contract position and officially left the Victorian Public Sector in December 2011. The TAFE issue is fraught around Australia, so feel free to comment here.

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I am writing this piece in frustration at the public narrative of the Victorian Government’s Vocational Education & Training (VET) contestability policy that has TAFE lose more than $300m in funding. I am primarily motivated by a comment made by a current Victorian Public Sector employee working in the area who said to me contestability is great but the TAFEs were too slow to react to market changes and only have themselves to blame.  I don’t see it that way and here’s why.

I worked in the State Government area that funds and manages VET delivery for 5 years, and I also worked briefly in a TAFE/University. In my 18 year public sector career I worked in labour market/training programs and have seen a gamut of policies and programs come and go. Read the rest of this entry »